Customs foil currency smuggling bid

Suspect arrested after boarding Dubai-bound flight

Saleh Mughal/imran Asghar January 27, 2019
Majid Khan, a passenger from Abbottabad, successfully cleared all scanning counters to board flight PK-233 for Dubai along with his hand-carry luggage. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Custom officials at Islamabad Airport have foiled another major attempt of smuggling of foreign currency worth millions of rupees to Dubai.

Customs recovered at least 36,000 UAE dirhams from a Dubai bound passenger after he had been cleared from the luggage checking and scanning and boarded the plane.

There also seems to be an alleged involvement of airport staff in currency smuggling, sources said. A quarrel also ensued between customs and airport officials during the process of arresting the alleged currency smuggler, sources claimed.

Attempt to smuggle foreign currency worth millions foiled at Islamabad airport

Sources disclosed that during the briefing of flight PK 233 to Dubai, the luggage of a passenger named Majid Khan, who belonged to Abbottabad, was smoothly cleared in inspection process including clearance from scanning machines.

The passenger had boarded the flight, when the customs officials made a raid on intelligence tip-off. The customs officials waited till the last moment to find out any clue of the accomplices of the suspected smuggler.

According to reports Customs Inspector Aijaz Khan went after the alleged currency smuggler in the aircraft but he was stopped by Air Security Force (ASF) due to which a brawl occurred between the two and the ASF official seized his pass.

Later, assistant commissioner customs reached at the site and arrested the passenger and confiscated his luggage.

Around thirty six thousand dirhams from one bag and seventy three thousand five hundred dirhams were recovered from the other bag. Collectively, one hundred nine thousand UAE dirhams were recovered along with two thousand Qatari riyals and some Pakistani currency.

According to the customs law, the passengers are only allowed to keep ten thousand dollars or equivalent currency with them when they are on board.

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Customs have started investigating the probability of alleged involvement of airport’s staff in the incident.

ASF Officials told that sometimes currency kept in different quantity were not traced in the scanning machines while they could only be searched in manual search.

On impediment of customs’ official , ASF officials told that the customs officials should have consulted Chief Security Officer or supervisory officer before any action however it was not done due to which only a small incident of cross examination occurred, he claimed. However, no such incident would have occurred if customs had coordinated with ASF.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2019.


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